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Lozier v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

October 31, 2019

CHRISTOPHER E. LOZIER
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/15/2018

          PEARL RIVER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ANTHONY ALAN MOZINGO TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEYS: HALDON J. KITTRELL, LORA ELIZABETH HUNTER, VICKI L. GILLIAM

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: VICKI L. GILLIAM

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: LORA ELIZABETH HUNTER

          BEFORE KITCHENS, P.J., BEAM AND ISHEE, JJ.

          BEAM, JUSTICE

         ¶1. Christopher Lozier appeals from the Pearl River County Circuit Court's order denying his petition to relieve him of the duty to register under the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry Law (MSORL). Lozier claims the trial court misinterpreted Mississippi Code Section 45-33-47 as applied to him. Lozier also claims that the MSORL is unconstitutional because it violates ex post facto laws of the federal and state constitutions, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under both constitutions, violates the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause found in Ariticle IV, Section 1, of the United States Constitution, and in Mississippi Code Sections 11-7-301 through -309.

         ¶2. We affirm the trial court's order denying Lozier's petition.

         FACTS

         ¶3. The facts are not in dispute. Lozier currently resides in Carriere, Mississippi. In September 1992, he was tried for rape in Massachusetts. Following a mistrial, Lozier pleaded guilty in March 1993 to one count of indecent assault and battery upon a person over the age of fourteen.

         ¶4. Lozier received a suspended sentence of four to five years, and he was placed on probation for three years. Lozier was discharged from probation by court order in May 1996. As required by Massachusetts law, Lozier began registering as a sex offender in Massachusetts in 1997.

         ¶5. Lozier moved to Mississippi in 2006 to work in construction. As required by Mississippi law, Lozier began registering with Mississippi Sex Offender Registry (Registry). Lozier has complied with the MSORL's registration requirements since that time.

         ¶6. On April 24, 2017, Massachusetts' Sex Offender Registry Board notified Lozier, by letter, that he no longer had a duty to register in Massachusetts under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 6, Section 178G (West, Westlaw through Ch. 88 of 2019 1st Annual Sess.), declared unconstitutional on other grounds by Doe v. Sex Offender Registry Bd., 102 N.E.3d 950 (Mass. 2018). This section expressly allows a sex offender required to register to cease registering after twenty years from the date of conviction, adjudication, or release from custody or supervision, whichever occurs last. Id.

         ¶7. On November 28, 2017, Lozier filed a petition in the Pearl River County Circuit Court seeking relief from the MSORL's registration requirements under the full faith and credit given to foreign orders under the federal constitution and Mississippi Code Section 11-7-301 to -309 (Rev. 2019). The State filed a response objecting to Lozier's petition.

         ¶8. A hearing was held on May 7, 2018, after which the trial court entered an order denying Lozier's petition. The trial court found that even though Lozier is no longer required to register in Massachusetts, he still must register in Mississippi.

         ¶9. The trial court found that, according to Section 45-33-47, "[r]egistration in any other jurisdiction does not reduce the minimum time requirement for maintaining registration in Mississippi." Miss. Code Ann. § 45-33-47(2)(a) (Rev. 2015). According to the trial court, the meaning of this language is clear: "It does not matter how long Lozier had been registered under the laws of Massachusetts[; w]hen [Lozier] moved to Mississippi in 2006, that was when 'the clock' began on the time he must register as a sex offender in Mississippi."

         ¶10. The trial court did not reach the question of which "tier"[1] Lozier's crime would fall under. The trial court opined, however, that even if the crime fell under tier one, Section 45-33-47 would require registration in Mississippi until the year 2021 (fifteen years from Lozier's first registration in Mississippi in 2006). Thus, according to the trial court, Lozier's petition is at least three years premature.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶11. At the outset, the only constitutional claim Lozier raised in the trial court is that Mississippi is required to give full faith and credit to his having been relieved by Massachusetts of the duty to register as a sex offender in that state. For the first time on appeal, Lozier asserts new constitutional claims. These new claims, however, are barred from review and will not be considered in this appeal. See Wright v. Wright, 693 So.2d 898, 903 (Miss. 1997) (declining to entertain on appeal a new theory of ...


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